LeBron James hints at retirement with cryptic quote from press conference as Nuggets knock out Lakers

LeBron James hints at retirement with cryptic quote from press conference as Nuggets knock out Lakers

LeBron James may be 38, but he just scored 40 points and basically played all 48 minutes of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals despite a nagging foot injury. He averaged 28.9 points per game in the regular season and seems to have a lot of competitive basketball ahead of him.

Still, the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss on Monday to the Denver Nuggets ended his 20th NBA season. Only two players in NBA history have played more games than James if you include the playoffs, and no one has scored more points. James has already accomplished more than any other player in NBA history, and he remains so good even after two decades that he never really felt the need to consider the possibility of retirement.

So far. James ended his press conference on Monday on a rather cryptic note.

“I have a lot to think about”, James said after the game. “Personally, as I move forward in basketball, I have a lot to think about.”

This quote initially leaves a bit of room for interpretation. But ESPN’s Dave McMenamin spoke to James afterwards, and he made it clear he was actually talking about retirement.

James signed a contract extension last offseason, so retiring would mean leaving over $50 million on the table. Retiring now would also mean giving up on his long-held dream of playing alongside his son, Bronny, if retirement were permanent. James could also theoretically retire for a year and then return once his son is draft eligible. Young James is expected to play for USC this season.

It may be a while before Lakers fans see James on the court again, whether he retires or not. He hinted he needed foot surgery earlier in the season, and now that the Lakers have been knocked out, he might end up getting it and miss some time at the start of next season. He may also be less able to recover from serious injuries than he was in his prime, and may feel the frustration that comes with the aging process.

James just led the Lakers to the Western Conference Finals, but was swept away in the process. It proves he’s still more than capable of competing for championships, but he’s also likely frustrated with the outcome of a streak he played in while injured. Over time, the sting of defeat can fade. But it is by far the most serious retirement James has ever spoken of. It was only a matter of time after 20 years, and now we await his final decision.

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